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Jason Puckett

Pac-12 weekend...

 
Pac-12 weekend...

Well, it's easy to say that the most dominating performance over the weekend belonged to the Washington Huskies. Not only did Washington beat Boise State, they made them look FCS team in the process. 

Many people believed this would be a test for the Huskies and that this would be the biggest game for Steve Sarkisian in his coaching tenure. Well, if it truly was, which I don't agree with, Sarkisian and Washington passed with flying colors. 

The game was big because fans were feeling a bit restless and they were opening up a brand new stadium. But, if you take a step back, Sarkisian will have much bigger games to deal with in the future.  I pretty comfortable in saying that when the Huskies host the Ducks on October 12, many who said the Boise game was the biggest for Sarkisian will utter the same thing during the week. 

Clearly the biggest difference on Saturday was the play of Keith Price. Fans and media spent all offseason debating whether or not Price was the guy and how quickly would Sarkisian pull the plug on Price if he didn't play well.  The answer was pretty clear once the game ended late Saturday night. 

Price and Washington played at a pace that was exciting and frenzied and kept the Broncos off balanced.  If Price can stay healthy and move like he did on Saturday, Washington will be extremely difficult to beat because they have so many weapons offensively. 

Meanwhile, in Auburn, Washington State couldn't seal the deal against Auburn in a very winnable game.  In fact, if WSU had better production from their quarterback Conor Halliday, I envision a game in which they win by 10 or more points.  The final stat line for Halliday will read three interceptions, however, if you watched the game you know that number SHOULD have been six interceptions. 

For all the good that Halliday does, and there is a plenty which was on full display at times in the first half, there is still plenty bad. And, that bad is clearly his decision making and his repeated habit of just throwing the ball up for grabs in the secondary.  A fourth year junior should no longer be making these type of mistakes, but unfortunately it's been the story of Halliday in his WSU career. 

No one wants to see the same episode develop this year like last season in the juggling of the quarterbacks.  We all agree that staying with one guys is generally the best thing to do and makes the most sense for your football team. But, it's clear from watching the game on Saturday that the Cougars have made significant improvement from last year, ESPECIALLY, the offensive line. They can't afford to have a signal caller put his team in trouble with careless mistakes by playing flyers up.  

Mike Leach has a decision to make during the USC game.  If Halliday continues to show the same mistakes then it's time to see if redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca can give them something different. 

I have not watched one single WSU practice, and everyone that covers the team will tell you that Halliday is clearly the guy over Apodaca. Now, I don't know if that's just a pack mentality or if it's the truth. But, from what I saw in the spring game, Apodaca looked fine to me. In fact, he showed enough arm strength on throws and he showed, from what I saw, very good accuracy. Plus, he has the ability to run.  He is more more athletic than Halliday and that could be pivotal when teams continue to rush four and drop seven into coverage. 

Bottom line is that the positives of Halliday just don't wipe away the one big negative he possesses.  

Well, I said this on Saturday, don't ever schedule Eastern Washington for your first game of the season.  I sense that Mike Riley and Oregon State won't do so in the future. 

Oregon piled up a bunch of yards, but who cares, look who they played. Buuuut, how good and how much bigger did Marcus Mariota look?!  Oregon looked dominant, fast and ready for the season, but the opponent was terrible. 

How about the two new coaches at Colorado and Cal!  Sonny Dykes and Mike MacIntyre had solid debuts, especially CU.  

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